Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Brutal Bitter Ale | Rogue Ales

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale
Very Good
2,157 Ratings
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
**NOTE: This beer is now called "Brutal IPA" **
It has also been bottled as "Portland State IPA" (2010).

An Imperial bitter with exotic traditional floor malts, citrusy, hoppy flavor and stupendous hop aroma. Rogue brewmaster John Maier describes his Brutal IPA as a cross between a Very Extra Special Bitter and an Indian Pale Ale. Hedonistic!

8 INGREDIENTS: 2-Row, Carawheat, C15 & Rogue Farms Dare™ & Risk™ Malts; Rogue Farms Alluvial™ Hops; Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast.

22oz Bottle & Draft / 15° Plato / 46 IBU / 81 AA / 13° Lovibond

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,157 |  Reviews: 1,110
Photo of benclimbs
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty solid, pours very hazy with not a lot of lacing.
Smells pretty good, though nothing too crazy definitely some apples on the nose.
Taste is definitely where it's at on this one. Nice ripe fruit, like maybe apricots with a really good bitter hop profile.
Pretty drinkable with nothing too noticeable in mouthfeel.

 321 characters

Photo of Chapter40z
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. A hazy golden orange, slightly off white head. Very inviting.

S. Hops, and some citrus not a very powerful smell.

T. I'd hardly call this brutally bitter. I do enjoy the taste though, good strong hops and well balanced flavors.

M. Good carbonation on the tongue, mid to full body on this one.

D. Could drink a ton of this stuff, another good brew from the guys at rogue.

 377 characters

Photo of DoctorDog
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a nonic.

A- Orange color, and quite hazy. Pours with a full 3 fingers of tan/off white head, which fades slowly to a nice cap. Ample lacing noted.

S- Slightly fruity. Some biscuit notes, and mineral/metallic edge.

T- Herbal, slightly citrus hopiness jumps straight out, with a nice strong bitter finish. Sweet bready maltiness and some fruity notes move forward a bit as the drink warms a bit.

M- Moderately carbonated and quite full feeling. Very good.

D- Quite good. Would be a solid session beer. Moderately ABV%, excellent flavor, outstanding body.

Future outlook: One of the better beers I've had from Rogue so far. Quite enjoyed this one, and wouldn't mind having it again.

 717 characters

Photo of riored4v
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 2/12/09

Poured into a Sam Adams glass. Clear and copper in color. A nice, fluffy, off-white head.

Smell was malty and sweet. Slighty piney and spiciness back by a very mild citrus aroma.

Taste had a nice, fairly mellow, upfront and finishing bitterness. Spicey hop profiles w/ floral hints. Great caramalness in the body. Hint of nutty flavors and the mild citrus bitterness showed up as well.

Mouthfeel was medium/light. Well carbonated.

Good drinkability. Crisp, slightly dry finish with a good malty backbone.

 529 characters

Photo of RunDWP
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I didn't find this brutal at all. Strong, sturdy, and bitter it is, but not brutal. Budweiser Chelada? Now you're talking brutal!

It's one of the most unique and interesting beers I've tried. It poured a hazy, tan color with a surprising amount of fizziness in my tulip with a slight foamy white head. For all that malt, really not the study head of foam and lacing I would expect. I have a weak nose, and had to strain a little to pick up some malty, floral aromas wafting up from the liquid. From this unassuming beginning, it was struck by its unique taste. Lots of biscuity malt, well balanced by lots of grassy, herbal hops. Did I detect a notes of taragon and grapefruit in there? As it warmed, the balance changed and the hops character got a little more bitter, but this is one of those brews that rifts on its flavor theme as it warms, rather than getting out of balanced as it warmed. It was enjoyable to warm the tulip in my hands a little and see what this guy would taste like next. It's not a smooth, easy drinking beer but gets good drinkability marks for that type of enjoyment.

May your life be this Brutal.

 1,126 characters

Photo of tzieser
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber color with a small head that settles into a lacing around the sides of the glass. looks nice

smells great. lots of floral hops up front, maybe some biscuity malts in the back somewhere-- but the hop oils are the main smell on this one

tastes good. flowery hops dominate the palate, with some malts in the background to balance the hop heavy flavor. the alcohols aren't very recognizable-- which is good. this is a very hoppy beer, but its balanced well to keep the hops from scaring me away. very nice

drinkability is good. i wouldnt wanna have a ton of these (the hops might get to me after a while), but i could definitly have 2 or 3 no problem.

pverall-- this is quite a good beer. it's nice-- hoppy and bitter but balanced perfectly to keep things from getting out of hand. not as bitter as i thought it was gonna be, but i'm actually thnakful of that. try it for sure if you haven't yet.

 916 characters

Photo of abar22
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First review! My palate is in its infancy so I will do my best.

A - Poured a hazy orangish-brown with a 2 finger head into a Sam Adams Sensory Glass. Nice lacing all around the glass and kept a small head throughout.

S - All hops in the smell with a subtle hint of flower coming through

T - Hops are all over the taste as well. Malts hit at first but were immediately taken over by the hops. The end has a hoppy dry bitterness to it.

M - Medium body that never feels watery. I feel the tang of each drink well after it goes down.

D - At 6.5% it's not a classic session beer but I definitely could throw a few back while relaxing after work.

 647 characters

Photo of nighthawk
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650mL bottle with no freshness date poured into imperial pint.

Pours a quite hazy orange with brown hues. A large, foamy white cap forms, slowly settling to a ring and leaving some sticky clumps on the glass. Retention is fantastic.

Smell is all hops. Citrus and floral.

Taste is citrus hops up front, followed by a creamy sweet malt middle before bringing the hops back for a mildly bitter finish. There's a mild biscuity feel to the finish that cleans things up a bit.

Mouthfeel is fairly soft at first, light to medium body, then the carbonation kicks in with a pleasant bite. Well, more of a nibble really, it doesn't overpower the palate.

Very refreshing and drinkable beer.

 684 characters

Photo of caddybuyer
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured froma 22 oz bomber into a chalice.

A-Slightly veiled medium orange amber with a whith sudsy head that laces nicely.

S-Lots of citrus and pine hops, grapefruit predominant.

T-Not a brutal as the name might suggest....but a nice clean, fresh tangy hopfest on the tongue balanced by malts with an astringent drying back end clean finish.

M-Decently balanced overall.

D-This is a very drinkable brew. That being said, there is nothing here that is a standout, just a good, solid hop oriented beer...sometimes, this is not a bad thing. Is it the best of its style? No. Will I go for this again...sure, why not?

A rock solid selection from a rock solid brewery. I'm thinking this is a great summer refresher, outdoor cooking, basic drinking beer when you want a shot of hops without all the fuss.

 804 characters

Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A dark tinted orange/ruby color. Little head tension noticeable and lacing around the pint glass.

S: Apple cider mixed with a distinctive malt and some hop cense in the air.

T: Little bitter and some sweetness, some mild fruit notes (apple/pear). Low carbonation and little hops are present.

M: Not much of a bite, a bitter punch with some sweet withdraw.

D: Not a session beer for my liking, but a great representation of the style makes this an easy pick for those who are.

 482 characters

Photo of youngblood
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice copperish color with fluffy white head

S- Pine Pine Pine.

T- Quite well balanced. The hops are pretty prominant but there is a nice malt backbone as well.

M- Nice and smooth. Goes down easy.

D- Nothing out of the ordinary in this beer. Goes well with pizza and football.

 282 characters

4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy Orange Amber color, with a decent amount of white head. Slow sticky lacing coats the sides of my beer mug.

S: Piney, bitter in your face hops!

T: Very bitter hoppy experience. a bit piney, a bit citrusy, very fresh bitter hop taste. the crystal hops are brilliant, but not overwhelming. The malts are soft and slightly caramelly. Bitter all the way through.

M: MMMM.... bitter. smooth and succulent. Little tang in the aftertaste, along with the bitterness.

D: I could drink this one anytime. I grab this one by the bomber every now and again when i can find it. I've also had it by the pint at the rogue brewpub in Portland. It was equally awesome. Love the bitter!

 678 characters

Photo of Colt4540
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A- It's a cloudy light brown color. With a finger and a half think off white head. It leaves a pretty good head all the way trought the beer and leaves nice lacing all the way down.

S- Has a pretty strong pine and floral hop smell. Maybe a little bit of a citrus twang to it.

T- As the name suggests it's pretty bitter, but it has a real nice pine and citrus taste that keeps the insane amount of hops in check. There is something else there that I can't quite put my finger on.

M- The hops mixed with the pine and citrus taste leads to a pretty zesty almost tingley mouth feel. That finishes crisp and clean.

D- Fits right in with your normal IPA. A good easy drinking beer.

 726 characters

Photo of ATPete
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

Pours a chill hazy orange brown color with a monster off white head. Slight astringency in the nose along with loads of fresh bitter hops, more reminiscent of a strong English IPA rather than an ESB... dare i say Imperial ESB? Theres "Imperial" everything else so why not. Fruity with a grassy/herbal character and a sturdy semi-sweet malt backing. Crisp with carbonation but with a slightly grainy texture. Decent balance is achieved throughout but this beer is obviously dominated by a hops, beautiful bitter hops. I would definitely revisit this beer.

 567 characters

Photo of jjazz
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A head never even formed on this one in clean glassware.

A good beer. Very...un bitter; Somewhere between a mild IPA and a Pale Ale. I've never had an ESB, but I like this one. Nicely balanced and easy to drink.

Some nice citrusy hops with mild malty notes. A nice change of pace from all of the IPAs I've been having lately.

 327 characters

Photo of farrago
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Super cloudy amber-orange color, barely shifts to yellow at the rims, huge frothy head that takes its damn sweet time dissolving, like it wants to be in a "Got Milk?" commercial. The nose generously spreads itself broadly, grapefruit and orange citrus, aggressive hops, honeycomb more than honey, whisper of wheat, mixed white pit fruits, nothing here suggests an ESB beer. Medium-bodied, the froth translates into a shitload of mouth foam, almost gotta shut yer trap to keep it in. The citrus and hops again take the lead, followed on by accents of anise seed, nutmeg and cedar. More blunt than refreshing, tries to lift but too bottom-heavy and spreads across the tongue. As sweet as bitter, and truly nothing brutal about it. Granting this, it's tasty and nothing not worth chugging down.

 791 characters

Photo of timmay41
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: The pour offers a hazy copper hue and a healthy off-white head with nice lacing.

Smell: The bomber bottle touts that there's a "stupendous hop aroma." It reminds me of the smell of a wet-hopped beer... it has that kind of thick fragrance.

Taste: Well, I did have this beer on draught a couple weeks ago and it was more nuanced, but this still has character--well balanced, starting on the mild side, them some malty qualities before more active hop bitterness enters the equation.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, with just enough carbonation, and a kind of slippery quality that contributes to mouthfeel as well as taste. The mouthfeel reminds me of Quintine Blonde actually.

Drinkability: I feel like a fool for not discovering this beer sooner, as it's a great option in a style/category I don't go to often enough. Pleasantly balanced and drinkable.

 857 characters

Photo of racer2k
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz bomber pour into a pint glass

A: Pours a cloudy hazy dark amber/orange color with one finger cake batter colored head. Minimal lacing around the glass.

S: Citrus, Grapefruit, floral hops, pine, and a sweet malty aroma, at first blush it smells a lot like a high powered IPA.

T: Nice balance of hops, malt and bitterness with an earthy floral overtone. This beer has an excellent balance of malt and hops. There are also hints of a biscuits and sweet bread. The finish is malty. Nice complexity of flavors here.

M: Medium mouth feel with light carbonation and a nice hoppy aftertaste

D: Very nice beer that has tremendous complexity but is extremely drinkable. This is one of the most interesting "Bitters" that I have tasted. Great work Rogue Team!

 761 characters

Photo of AdmiralDiaz
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber to pint glass

A: Nice copper color, not very transparent. about a 1.5 finger very puffy off-white head with great retention. Not very bubbly at all. However this has some of the best lacing I've ever seen.

S: Smells hoppy with a bit of citrus.

T: Hops up front with a bit of tart citrus with a biter aftertaste. Not a lot going on other than some malt balance and a small yeast flavor. I taste a small bit of apple cinnamon. Not as bitter as I expected...

Overall Its pretty smooth and drinkable for the style.

 537 characters

Photo of beveritt
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into an Imperial pint glass. Label depicts the standard Rogue pose, this one being performed by a mustachioed gentleman in a purple shirt. Not nearly the amount of information normally found on Rogue bombers. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with 3 fingers of very light tan head. This settles slowly, still maintaining an impressive height, even after settling. Plenty of lacing is left behind and throughout the glass. The beer itself is orange and cloudy, looks like a hefe. Some sediment in the bottle.

Smell: Piney hop aroma with a caramel and biscuit malt backbone.

Taste: Grapefruit hop flavor upfront, with a solid malt body to follow. Malt is biscuity. Slight butterscotch finish, indicative of the classic English Ringwood yeast strain? Tea like flavor comes out as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Average to lower than average carbonation level, as is appropriate for the style. Amazing body.

Drinkability: It has been a while since I have had a Rogue and I had forgotten how well they do the classic styles. A near perfect blend of hop spice and malt body. Great.

 1,127 characters

Photo of hopstorm
5/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely perfect. This is the equivalent to heavens ambrosia. Pours a hazy golden color. Creamy head. Its almost like each sip is a chewy bite of goodness. The malt-hop balance is uncanny. Crystal hops dance on the palate and the malt combination is just fantastic, mostly marris otter I believe. It smells like its going to be hoppier than it is, and while it is hoppy, its just balanced so well. The pac man yeast is probably what pulls it all together. Unlike any traditional british bitter I've ever had. I could drink this all day every day. Rogue really out did themselves here. I really don't know why I buy anything else. A bit pricey at 12 for a 6er but well worth it IMO. Try this one, you won't be disappointed!

 724 characters

Photo of nc41
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What's not to like. Pours a deep amber color, nice head, definitely no floral nose here. I'm not sure how to categorizer this brew, it's not like an IPA, although I'm sure the IBU'S are right there. I'd say a Strong Ale in line with Arrogant Bastard. The malt is present and very discretely the tiniest bit sweet, bitter on the finish, Full flavored, but not heavy, and very satisfying. I love the stuff, and it's definitely worth a try.

 437 characters

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 12/20/2008 (bottle):

Pours a huge foamy head, whitish, diminishing. Body is very clear golden amber body. Very hoppy grapefruity aroma. Hoppy taste but a big balancing malty taste, some nuttiness like hazelnut. Nice taste, would make a good session beer. Very carbonated mouthfeel. Drying aftertaste. A little much after a bit.

 337 characters

Photo of WAP
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy copper with a very clean, one-finger head that dissipates, with only faint trace trace, over the first few sips.

Smell is quite nice - caramel-apple with a just-right sweetness.

Taste is quite a departure from the smell, with a firm dose of hops adding some grassy elements and a nice bitterness, fading into a biscuit malt flavor on the back end.

Mouthfeel is nice, creamy. Overall, this is an exceptionally drinkable offering.

 445 characters

Photo of thekevlarkid
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of a bottle this beer was an incredibly cloudy, raw honey color. The head was tan, one-finger large and both retained well and left good lacing. The aroma was very hoppy with a pleasant citrus/pine balance and some caramel malt in the background. The flavors were equally well balanced with just enough of a slant towards the bitter side. It started with an enjoyable caramel malt note that was then tempered by the bitter pine, orange rind and grapefruit flavors. In the background one could detect a biscuity malt presence. The mouthfeel was smooth and slightly oily, the carbonation perfect, the body medium/full. A rich, well rounded and rewarding beer that stands as one of the best examples of a true ESB widely available.

 732 characters

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 2,157 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.